The grandson of Kung-Fu master Huo Yuanjia, portrayed by Jet Li in his new film, Fearless, filed a lawsuit last week against the film's producers and distributors in an effort to halt Fearless' release. According to Huo Shoujin (who, by the way, along with the elder Huo's sons and other grandsons, doesn't exist in the film - Li's Huo has no decedents), the film "contains numerous fabrications about his grandfather's life and besmirches his reputation," though the lawsuit offers no specifics about said fabrications and besmirchments. The decedents of the elder Huo have previously complained about film's depiction of his upbring as posh, whereas in fact their grandfather was poor as a boy. Huo is demanding both a "written apology," and that the film be pulled from release (it's already out in a lot of Asian territories, and will hit Japan, the US, Germany, Korea, and France later this year).

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it's always been my understanding that filmmakers are allowed to take a whole lot of license with their fictional projects. Hell, if the all-powerful William Randolph Hearst couldn't stop Citizen Kane (at least not through legal channels), it's unlikely this case will go anywhere. At least, it better not - if courts started to set precedents whereby the relatives of those portrayed in fiction films control content via lawsuits, all hell would break loose.*

*The angry cannibal case from earlier this month is different, because that decision was based not on the film's content, but on the fact that its presence in the public discourse might affect an on-going trial.
categories Movies, Cinematical